Jesus loved us with a sincere love. Everything He did, right down to dying on the cross as a substitute for our wrongs, was motivated by love, real love.
Paul commanded, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” (Rom. 12:9; NKJV). The church was to model Christ in the way that they loved people. They are to have the purest and most sincere love that would compel people to want to know more about Christ. They are to be pillars of love that the lost, broken and hurt can lean on and find strength.
One thing people can readily pick up on is fakeness. Those that come to us and come to our buildings are looking for something real. They have had enough of the phony stuff. They have dealt with the pretenders of the world and they are not looking for that in us. They are looking for something real. They are looking for something pure. They are looking for somebody to look at them as Christ would and feel nothing but love and compassion for them.
How many times has the Bible described Jesus as being “moved with compassion?” That’s what sincere love does; it moves the heart. It allows one to look beyond what they see to have genuine concern for others. This is what people are looking for. This is what the church should be displaying. The love of Christ is our greatest asset in drawing people to salvation. After all, wasn’t it God who told Jeremiah, “With lovingkindness have I drawn thee,” (Jer. 31:3; KJV)?
Real love draws people. Fake love pushes them away. If we truly want to be like Christ then love on people sincerely. Don’t give them what the world is already giving them; fake love. Give them something genuine. Give them something real. Give them something that will bring them closer to God. Give them real love!
Races can take you through many terrains. Running uphill, it’s hard. The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets. Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief. Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy. And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more. On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race. They want to help you make it.
The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). We run it. We press for it. But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.
As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race. Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.
In this world the struggle is real. May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs. May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it. May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.
We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race. We need each other to do it. As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails. Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another. We need to be there for one another. We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).
More encouraging verses and quotes:
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a
“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth
“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo Source: Pixabay
The God who touches me is the God who loves me.
Saved, my sins He has thrown into the deep sea.
He carries my soul in His hand day by day.
He wraps His strength around me; my fortress, my stay.
He covers me in light that shields from the dark.
He is the armor that protects from all fiery darts.
He’s my Shepherd and the Lamb, who leads and sacrifice.
My safety; my salvation came at His high price.
The God who touches me cares beyond what we know.
His love on display is the grandest show.
In it we see eternity play out.
His best became our rest; no reason to doubt.
On His throne He sits in heaven where we bow at the knee.
Never forsaking us, in His presence, till we are there home free.
The God who touches me, I reach out for Him too.
As the woman grabs His hem and is healed through and through.
To feel His virtue; His power; His love – it’s so real.
His Spirit overwhelms; on my heart is His seal.
Taking me to heights in heaven to know,
where for eternity I bask in His unimaginable glow.
Photo Credit: Pixabay/Screamenteagle
There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.
The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear. Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around. Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.
That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.
Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.
To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.
Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us. And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.
David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine). I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement. David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.
Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us. Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.
We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.
Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.
- “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
- “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
- “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
- “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
- “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
- “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
- “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers
There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on. The inner dialogue comes from the person within. It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay. But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.
The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around. Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.
Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up. When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.
When the Father speaks His words are power. “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11). Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).
When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11). In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do. It will succeed at everything spoken of it.
When the Father speaks His words are truth. False speech seems to dominate this world. Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around. But God’s words are dependable and faithful. They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19). “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).
When the Father speaks His words are life. Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63). Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68). For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.
And, when the Father speaks, it is forever. “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35). There will never be a time when His Word will not be. All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away. But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever. It’s not going anywhere. Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it. Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.
Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.
“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV
There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.
Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.
The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10, KJV).
That’s what faith sees!
With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger, (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed, (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also, (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life, (Esther 4:11).
A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.
With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, KJV).
In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!